U.S. Men's National Team

Where will USMNT finish in the semifinal round of qualifying?


photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

Only two days separate the U.S. men's national team from the start of its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, but plenty of questions about the team still remain after the three summer friendlies ended with mixed results.

Whether it was tired legs at the end of a three-games-in-nine-days stretch or Canada's ability to stymie the U.S. midfield this past Sunday, the Americans looked far from a team firing on all cylinders ahead of World Cup qualifying.

Jamaica, Guatemala and Antigua and Barbuda are likely to deploy similar defensive gameplans against Jurgen Klinsmann's side in the coming months, and the U.S. team will need to do a better job of breaking compact defenses if it is to finish in first place in Group A of the semifinals round of qualifying and advance the Hex.

History has shown that anything can happen in this round and the United States is not guaranteed of breezing through its competition en route to finishing atop the group, especially if it does not improve in multiple areas over the six matches from now until October.

From their defending against counter attacks to finishing, the Americans have room for improvement as the beginning of qualifying looms with a game against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.

With that said, where do you see the United States finishing in this round of qualifying? Expecting them to breeze through the competition or will there be hiccups on the way to the Hex? What aspect of the team are you looking forward to watching?

Share your thoughts below.

  • cactusface

    Jermaine is spot on with his opinions. Too many holding mids playing with their backs to the coal. How many times does a player make a run and send in a perfect cross to find the ball bounce in the box with ZERO us players around? We need more Speed and Youth. Donovan should not start anymore. Torres ? Bradley has taken the place as Donovan Realise it US fans. Just because you own a Donovan Shirt doesnt mean he is capable of playing past his prime. The guy has lost a step. We need more runners in the box. Gomez should play winger, boyd should start.


  • Brain Guy

    I have seen Guatemala referred to as “Los Chapines.” Can anyone confirm/explain?


  • DJ

    Even our best teams historically have struggled in away games in Central America. That’s just the way it has always been. I’m not sure that this team is any different. I think we’ll probably irk out a draw in Guatemala, and we should come out on top of the group. We need to get better (and in some spots younger) in order to make noise in the Hex/World Cup though.

    One problem is that our best players going forward lately play D Mid (Bradley, although he’s better further up) and Left Back (Johnson). Quite frankly, Fabian Johnson is good enough to start at any of the midfield positions on the team. If it were not for a dearth of international caliber talent at left back, he might just. He’s a difference maker in the final third, and he was missed against the Canucks.


  • GW

    JFT is fun to watch.

    However, does the team play better when he plays? This is a results based situation. Do they win more often with him in the lineup?

    That is all that matters.


  • GW

    It seems to me Williams wearing the # 7 worked out pretty well. We beat Italy with him in that role.

    Williams is very good on the ball. He was put into the midfield against Italy to help keep the midfield from being overrun and then tighten the defense. He was also a very good outlet for the defense when they were being put under pressure, as everyone knew they would be sooner or later.

    This allowed the defense to avoid having to use long clearances up field.

    Just because JK made him wear #7 doesn’t mean he wanted him to do a Frank Ribery or C Ronaldo imitation.


  • GW

    “Adu always shows up to play when he puts on the U.S jersey, I still don’t get his absense.”

    How many competitive games (i.e non friendly) for the senior USMNT has Adu played in that the US have won?


  • scooter

    Because they are just good enough that they could draw or win because they’ll play cheap and the refs usually let it go and their crowd will be ridiculously hostile


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